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Box Office: The Studios Fail America on the 4th of July

Amir here with the weekend’s box office report. ‘twas quite a sad one at the multiplex; Positive adjectives were hard to come by. Tran4mers topped the charts again, but even that franchise has tired its audience so much that it now lags significantly behind the previous installments. Tammy came in second, but this one is also way behind last year’s Melissa McCarthy vehicles like The Heat. Maybe people are finally realising that having a superstar who doesn't fit Hollywood's notions of traditional beauty is completely different from having a superstar who doesn't fit Hollywood's notions of traditional beauty solely to make fat jokes about her.


Deliver Us From Evil was a big flop, this one falling behind director Scott Derrickson’s previous films, despite finding some major champions among critics. And if those are not enough underachievers for one week, there was also Earth to Echo, not just beating Deliver Us... as the weekend’s most awkwardly titled offering, but also beating it on the disappointment scale. This was the only new family option of the weekend, but it finished behind the leftover How to Train Your Dragon 2, which is another massive disappointment in its own right.

01 TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION $36.4 (cum. $174.7)
02 TAMMY $21.1 NEW (cum. $32.9) Review
03 DELIVER US FROM EVIL $9.5 (cum. $15)
04 22 JUMP STREET $9.4 (cum. $158.8) Podcast
05 HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 $8.7 (cum. $140) best movie dragons
06 EARTH TO ECHO $8.2 NEW (cum. $13.5) 
07 MALEFICENT $6.1 (cum. $213.8) Podcast
08 JERSEY BOYS $5.1 (cum. $36.7) Review
09 THINK LIKE A MAN TOO $4.9 (cum. $57.1)
10 EDGE OF TOMORROW $3.6 (cum. $90.8) Capsule / Top Ten Thus Far

Perhaps Begin Again and Snowpiercer could have emitted some positive vibes with their relatively strong expansions, but no, hang on a minute! Dinesh D’Souza’s America – a sequel to Obama’s America? Oh, who cares anyway? It’s not like that first film made any damn sense – beat both of them to finish just outside the top ten. Yes, Dinesh D’Souza! Enough has been written about the hypocrisy and sheer stupidity of this man to make one think that a multimillion dollar opening and an A-Fucking-Plus Cinemascore is out of reach for his films, but no. It’s still possible. America has disappointed us all. The silver lining is that he, too, is lagging far behind his previous film.

What did you watch this weekend? Please give us some positive vibes to counteract Hollywood's failure to schedule anything worthwhile on such a big moviegoing weekend.

See Also: Nathaniel's Top Ten at the Halfway Mark

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Reader Comments (33)

Watched "Begin Again" which I thought was good, but disappointed me in that it didn't leave a lasting impression on me besides "Oh, that was a nice summer film...that I might forget months from now."

Mainly I just watched TV (the complete season one of NBC's "Undateable" - gotta love Brent Morin's musical moments, plus the awesomeness of this week's episode of NBC's "The Night Shift" - where Brendan Fehr's in the closet doctor had his injured partner played by Luke MacFarlane brought into the ER).

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P

Saw a pre-release screening of Magic in the Moonlight. It's minor Allen, although lovely: well written, well designed, well shot, well directed, well played. But minor and low stakes Allen nonetheless. A more charming cast you cannot imagine, led by Firth, Stone and Eileen Atkins. It somehow manages to gracefully combine elements of classics like Pygmalion</> and The Lady Eve.

The Allen-typical but unremarked age difference between two of the leads bothers me, even if it was (more) normal—even typical—in 1928, when the film is set.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul -- good to hear (sort of)

George -- i think it's too soon to tell about the lasting impression but i had such a good time watching it

everyone -- this weekend i opted for BEGIN AGAIN and was very surprised at how much i loved it.

July 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The first season of Arrow. The dialogue might be the worst in television history, but the structure is solid and the season finale is very good indeed.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

The highlight of my weekend was Gabrielle, which I loved. LOVED. It was such a sweet little film. I have never cared so much about a character in a film.

I can imagine that some people might not like how on-the-nose it is at times, but I have a hard time imagining anyone outright disliking it.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I watched Snowpiercer and loved it. I can't believe Weinstein didn't give it a wider release.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

I went to see Snowpiercer last night as it was fucking amazing while my parents went to see Chef which they loved as they don't go to the films very often.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

"How To Train Your Dragon 2" and while Toothless is still a brilliant animated creature the movie was just ok- with some very dark story treated very lightly for a kids movie. Derrickson's last movie "Sinister" was major crap with such dark shitty photography one could barely tell what was going on. The trailer for "Tammy" was boring and unfunny- the poster was horrendous- no wonder people stayed away.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I am dreaming on a remake of the chilenean film 'Gloria' with Melissa Mccarthy in the lead role. With some modifications, that could be a great veicle for her... I'm thinking on an Oscar win... haha...The thing is: she can do much better than 'Tammy', maybe 'St. Vicent'?

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterÁngel Ramos

I've already gone off on how awful Tammy was, but today I saw Snowpiercer, which I really enjoyed. Weinstein is full of crap saying it needed to be cut 20 minutes and needed to be explained more. It's not a subtle film, but I still had the thrilling sense of never knowing what would come next, and it was over before I knew it. Definitely one of my favorites so far this year, and puts nearly all of Hollywood's recent action films to shame.

Also, Tilda was so much fun and quite brilliant.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Saw BEGIN AGAIN and really liked it. James Corden stole the movie IMO (and the audience I saw it with who laughed at everything he did). And while Knightley's singing voice is super lovely, I thought it was just in the wrong side of twee for the character.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I watched SNOWPIERCER on Friday (Happy Fourth of July!) which put me into a Korean action flick groove. Yesterday was OLDBOY, today might be THE THIRST if I finish my work in time. There's a serious sadistic streak in Korean film, but I was impressed not only by how stylized SNOWPIERCER was but how committed to its own crazy it turned out to be. If you're willing to swallow the premise, the film takes it to extremes that are both beautiful and terrifying. Heavy-handed, sure, but never boring.

Plus I got to watch Academy Award Winner Octavia Spencer take down a soldier with a pipe. So there's that.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

I am catching up on all my Best Actress nominees. This weekend I watched 2 Ingrid Bergman nominated performances (Bells of St Mary's and Joan of Arc). Also caught up on some difficult to watch Greer Garson nominated performances (Blossoms in the Dust and Campobello). And Rosalind Russell in Mourning Becomes Electra. I don't understand ANY of these nominations. Especially Garson in 1960 over Wendy Hiller in Sons and Lovers.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

I saw Snowpiercer with my Dad. I loved it, as a Bong Joon-ho enthusiast (not up to Memories of Murder par be damned, it's on equal footing with The Host), and my dad, the first he has ever seen of Bong's films, liked it. So admirably gutsy and committed to what it was doing in terms of 'going there'. I can totally imagine where and what Harvey Weinstein wanted to cut from this. I cannot imagine a major American studio putting that out. Plus, the diversity of the ensemble and the fact nobody was sexualized. I don't come easy to accepting sci-fi films just because they are not preordained franchise tentpoles- even ones by directors I am supposed to like (looking at you, Pacific Rim!). This really felt dire and the 'burn the f***er down!' kind of mindset felt fresh and original. Heck, I even thought the ending worked.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I saw 'Frank'. It's frequently absolutely hilarious, has some sublime sequences and excellent performances from Fassbender and Gyllenhaal (seriously my favorite work from him since 2011 and her since 2006), but it also takes too long for its thematic focus to snap into place and the POV character absolutely should not have been Domhnall Gleeson's irritatingly untalented Jon.

But yeah, Gyllenhaal and Fassbender are absolute dynamite from their very first two-minute scene, where she's a wailing, intense uber-bitch and he's spastically dancing & droning like Ian Curtis to a song about soup.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate

It was a one-movie-a-night weekend for me:

<I>Ida - Strong little two-character drama, albeit the winner of the Charles Foster Kane "Rosebud" award for unexplained knowledge that drives the plot.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 - not as good as the first (bland villain, superfluous returning characters, which surprisingly extends even to Astrid, the love interest), but still a very good kids' movie, especially the family interactions.

The Fault in Our Stars - Woodley is one of my favourite younger actresses, and she's superb here, almost to the point of unbalancing the movie, since Hazel is such a well-realized person and Augustus, despite the actor giving a good performance, is still basically in Fantasy Boyfriend territory.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

The local Film Archive is running a season of Liv Ullman-Ingmar Bergman films, so I saw SHAME and SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE (both excellent). They also ran a sidebar with an 80s Australian film that starred Ullman, THE WILD DUCK - pretty ordinary, and showed me that Jeremy Irons is another of those actors who needs a good director, otherwise he can't rein himself in.

Also saw the documentary GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA, which was excellent (and, sadly, showed that we need a Vidal character here in Australia currently, with the atrocious political situation we are currently enduring).

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

I watched Camille Claudel 1915, Juliette Binoche is predictably brilliant as she always is, but I found the film very claustrophobic and it played the same notes over and over again. It didn't give us a chance to view Camille as anything other than a victim of circumstance. I would recommend watching it just for Binoche's performance.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRami

I saw Obvious Child. Loved it. I meant to get to Begin Again, too, but I was exhausted yesterday.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Wait, what major critics backed "Deliver us from Evil"? I did a quick scan of RottenTomatoes but didn't find much - would be curious to read.

I liked "Begin Again" a lot too - despite the worst Ruffalo performance I can think of right now. But I've been waiting for the Corden takeover for a while now, and I think the movie's aversion to plot or conflict actually backs its interest in more ephemeral feelings and moments.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Tammy wasn't good, but I don't think that was a bad outcome for the film's box office. After all, this was her first time carrying a movie on her own without a costar who also had a big fanbase.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

In theaters:

Snowpiercer - bold, inventive, unpredictable and extreme, with a great leading man performance from Chris Evans and a lot of fun, unexpected, off beat turns in support (Octavia Spencer, for example, was awesome). Could've been a little tighter in the edit, and the ending felt a bit too familiar, but overall really really good.

At home:

Absent - slow, quiet and tensely (homo)erotic. Can't remember the last time a director got as much mileage out of glimpsed flesh and stray glances Didn't really like where this one went ultimately, but the first hour was pretty hypnotic.

Grand Piano - a goofy DePalma/Hitchcock pastiche that actually merits the comparison to the masters. It is an absurd movie in every sense, but the absurdity is so baked into the cake that it's all quite entertaining. Elijah Wood carries the whole thing effortlessly, a welcome reminder that he actually does have leading man stuff in the right context (he also looks super dashing all dressed up in a nice suit with his air slicked back, but that's another matter).

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I watched "Obvious Child." Highly enjoyable!

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

"Tammy" & I taught it was a lot of fun. I don't understand the bitchiness about this one...
It's pure McCartey so you know what to expect.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

"Tammy" really disappointed me, and I was in the mood for another laughfest from Melissa McCarthy. Meh. I'll be advised for the next go round with her.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIan

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY in 70mm. I win.

Also, BRIGADOON (in 35mm), which was okay although that 20-odd minute storytelling/bagpipe wedding sequence was interminable.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I skipped the theatre this weekend and decided to revisit All That Jazz which to me is one of the best films ever. Nathaniel do you think Roy Scheider had a chance at the win for Best Actor? or was Dustin Hoffman the runaway winner of the category? i Love Dustin hoffman to death and he is great in Kramer Vs. Kramer but Scheider had such a brilliant character and performance.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEli

Eli: Scheider likely had no chance. That was Dustin Hoffman's fourth nomination (after 67, 69 and 74) and seventh calendar year where he was at least in contention. (70, 73 & 76.) Scheider had one prior nom and, though he'd ascended due to Jaws, didn't really have the momentum level to challenge Hoffman and, sadly, it would pretty much be his last chance, since Scheider spent most of the rest of his career in stuff like 2010.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Volvagia: thanks for the reply and yeah i could see what you mean. I would say Scheider was one of the more underrated actors in his prime and it would have been nice to see him win an Oscar but his competition that year was pretty tough but at least he was able to garner two Oscar nods in his career.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEli

I saw Snowpiercer and have to echo everyone else. So dark and beautiful and weird and creative and well cast and surprising. I love how Joon-ho can combine action (even gory action, without it seeming too gratuitous) with character development, humor and beauty. The cinematography made it feel like a graphic novel come to life. I liked The Host for all these same reasons so now I'm tempted to seek out more from this Joon-ho.

Also saw Tammy - not great, not terrible, but somehow fun and also disappointing. I feel like they focused on the dramatic moments more than the humorous ones. I just have a hard time believing they didn't have funnier takes for a lot of the scenes and thought they missed opportunities to inject humor into certain moments. But McCarthy is always watchable, both in her grossest and most vulnerable moments. And Kathy Bates! She almost stole the whole show between her great tough-love speech and her dancing at the party.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Saw SNOWPIERCER. Delightfully weird and awesome, what an action movie should be. Tilda Swinton was fascinating, Olivia Spencer was badass.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBD

DJDeeDay -- You must see 'MOTHER' it's so much better than The Host I think. Totally riveting with a great actressy central performance.

July 7, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Eli -- i would say no. Back then biopics weren't as sure of a thing in terms of "wow he/she IS ____ " in terms of praise but mostly I think Hoffman was unstoppable not just from career momentum (which is always a fact) but the fact that Kramer vs Kramer was THE movie that year. In fact I think Hoffman would have won that year even if he had already won an Oscar prior to it. In terms of box office success it was basically Forrest Gump levels of popularity that year it was such a massive zeitgest hit.

but i agree that ALL THAT JAZZ is a masterpiece.

July 7, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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